What is a responsive web design?
You may have noticed lately that some of your favorite websites have been redesigned. The designs may seem wider than usual, and if you shrink your browser the content resizes to fit. While they may seem like just small changes, we promise that website designers are not trying to trick you. Right now, there is a major movement of companies and organizations shifting to match the visual consumption habits of their audiences and buyer personas. This shift has lead to the creation of responsive websites; websites that adjust to the consumer's viewing needs.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, then you're well aware that consumers love mobile devices. These devices, such as tablets, offer users the mobility and ease that they crave, plus they have become affordable and widely available through various different manufacturers. In short, people aren't using PCs anymore, they are shifting to mobile browsing, and rapidly.
So what is the difference between a mobile website and a responsive design website? A mobile-specific website features only part of the "regular" version of the website. Usually, a website optimized for mobile viewing is a simplified version that projects the main parts of the website to viewers. A responsive design website is the same content and features as the normal website, but it is designed to match the viewers mobile device better. According to Mashable, a responsive web design uses "media queries" to figure out what resolution of device it's being served on. Instead of losing sight of the content, the page simply adjusts to match whatever size you are viewing it in. Responsive website design adopts to mobile devices accordingly and delivers seamless content to any viewers.
Companies that want to tailor to consumer needs, and keep up with their digital marketing strategy, will continue to adopt responsive websites. Mobile-friendly websites are becoming a necessity for brands that want to reach their market, especially since it is predicted that mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage by 2014. Currently, one half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. Many mobile users report having difficulty interacting with regular webpages on their mobile device, and 44% complain that mobile navigation of a normal website can be difficult.
So we recommend having one site that caters to all of your users. It's Google Approved! "Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device."
If you're not sure what a responsive website looks like, check out:
Responsive Sausage Dog (we LOVE this one!)
Clearly, responsive websites are not going anywhere. We expect to see most major companies and brands adjusting their website style to responsive design within the next year. If you truly want to reach all of your consumers, then call your CT web designer and get your website redesigned!
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